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When the dust had settled on the NGK Rally of Melbourne, the final round of the NEC Australian Rally Championship, the Truckmate team of John Berne and Scott Beckwith were ecstatic to emerge with two Championship titles for 2007.  

Prior to the final round, the team had already sealed victory in the RS Cup with a consistent performance all year which had seen them notch up RS Cup heat wins in every previous round.  Going into the Melbourne event, the team was also leading class P5, and third in the Rally Challenge standings, so had much to fight for.

“Realistically, we could not win either category on outright speed,” said team driver Berne.  “We had to simply drive with the same consistency and reliability as we had all year, and wait to see what others did.  For me it was a real challenge - I knew I could not afford to crash out, and so drove to a plan of 9/10ths for the weekend – but that’s actually surprisingly harder to do than to go flat out!!  So, it was hard work, on a challenging and often tricky event.”

The team’s plan payed dividends on the first day when issues for rivals saw the team effectively confirm victory in P5, and take a strong hold on at least a second placing in the Rally Challenge.

On the Sunday, the Truckmate Team stuck to its plan, and delivered another finish to confirm their win in P5, but it was not enough to take the Rally Challenge, finishing the year with an outstanding second place.

“Whilst we had a mathematical chance today,” reflected Beckwith, “Paul Batten drove exceptionally well given his trying circumstances leading up to this event, and deserved the win.  Second in the Challenge was far more than we hoped for at the beginning of the year, and we are delighted with the result.”

And what a year it has been for the team.  Following on from the previous two seasons, the team of Berne/Beckwith has now finished every stage of every event contested for the last three years, including Rally Australia last year.  In 2007, this incredible record of consistency has delivered the Truckmate Team two Championship titles, second in the Rally Challenge, and an amazing 10th outright in the overall Championship standings.

“Our results really do reflect the ultimate outcome of a team effort,” noted Berne.  “Scott and I have worked together incredibly well in the car, we have driven to a plan, and have been supported by a fantastic effort by our service and support crew to give us an ultra reliable car.  Without the effort of the whole team, and of course our sponsors, we simply would not have achieved what we have.”

With Beckwith now moving on from the team due to work commitments in Indonesia, what are the plans for 2008?  

“Well, Scott and I will work on identifying a new co-driver, and I have plans for a new car and team structure, so lots to do, but watch this space,” stated Berne.  “After this year, you couldn’t keep me away.  Roll on 2008,” he added with a laugh.

The Truckmate Racing Team appreciates the support of its additional sponsors, Sands Auto Body, Toll Mining Services, and Brighter Ideas Promotional items.  
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